Government Fleet Top News

Use of Erie County Government Vehicles Scrutinized

June 29, 2005

BUFFFALO, NY – Erie County taxpayers spend about $1 million annually on fuel for the entire fleet of county vehicles, according to county authorities as reported by WGRZ TV news.With a 2006 deficit estimated at $131 million, every dollar spent is being scrutinized.Some county legislators are questioning the use of county vehicles, gassed up at taxpayers' expense, by department leaders. Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples, who declines to use a county car, said the department leaders' vehicles are not a big-ticket expense, but rather a symbolic one. She agreed that Giambra needs one in his position.However, Naples' office released an audit this month of the Bureau of Fleet Services which points to larger cost concerns, specifically, the use of 24-hour vehicles.Its findings, among others:The 24-hour county vehicle listings prepared by the Bureau of Fleet Services, and reported to the Erie County Legislature on a quarterly basis, were incomplete.The listings also fail to include vehicles assigned to county departments on a 24-hour basis and routinely used by employees for commuting purposes. The audit identified 13 vehicles assigned to the district attorney's office that fell into this category, where departments avoid classifying such vehicles as 24-hour vehicles by making them available to other employees during the day.Throughout the county, 18 vehicles were assigned to employees who, based on a review of job specifications, were not working in an "on-call" position that directly related to emergency county services as required by the Erie County Motor Vehicle Policy."The 24-hour vehicle, the county car business, has always been nothing but a perk," Comptroller Naples said.

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